SIDNEY – The new Ohio law allowing use of consumer-grade fireworks on certain holidays has most local municipalities adopting a wait and see attitude before possibly adopting a ban on the use of fireworks within their borders.
Sidney Police Capt. Bill Shoemaker said the Sidney Council had decided to not immediately ban fireworks.
“But people can still violate fireworks restrictions if they are drunk or disorderly while using them,” he said, or acting irresponsibly, “like shooting them at each other.”
New Bremen Chief Mike Skinner said “Once we see how things go, and look at any complaints that come in, then the police may ask council to consider fireworks restrictions.” He noted fireworks can only be used on a resident’s own property or another property with that owner’s permission.
The Minster Village Council has already adopted a wait and see attitude as well.
New Knoxville Council has taken no action on the new fireworks law, but New Knoxville Fire Chief Jerry Merges said “Everybody needs to know the rules (of using fireworks), including staying 50 feet back from grounded fireworks and 150 feet away from areal fireworks.” Although the New Knoxville Council took no action in regards to fireworks use, Merges said it was his assumption that the fireworks rules will be reviewed after the holidays.
Auglaize County Sheriff Mike Vorhees said that, to his knowledge, Wapakoneta was the only municipality whose council had already voted to ban fireworks.
“As for the county in general, it’s new, and so far we haven’t had too many complaints, but we are just getting into the season,” he said, “so we will see how it goes.”
Shelby County Sheriff James R. Frye asked that people be considerate of their neighbors in the countryside.
“For example, stay away from livestock,” he said, “people spend a lot of money on livestock, like for 4-H projects.”
He also said the sheriff’s office is well aware of the specific times when fireworks can be shot off.
City councils in larger metropolitan areas, such as Dayton, Germantown and Oakwood Beavercreek and Fairborn all approved legislation recently to continue outlawing fireworks.
The new state law allows use of fireworks on New Year’s Day, Chinese New Year, Cinco de Mayo, Memorial Day weekend, Juneteenth, July 3, 4, and 5, and the Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays before and after, Labor Day weekend, Diwali, and New Year’s Eve.
For Ohioans, consumer grade fireworks include bottle rockets, Roman candles and more while celebrating certain holidays.
According to the federal ATF website, consumer fireworks are small devices that are purchased and used by the public and are either ground devices containing less than 50 milligrams of explosive materials, or aerial devices containing less than 130 milligrams of explosives.
Late last year, Gov. Mike DeWine signed into law a revamp of the state’s fireworks law after a years-long push by the industry to legalize their use. The law will go into effect July 1. Ohio previously only allowed consumers to use sparklers and a handful of other pyrotechnics, and anything else had to be taken out of state within 48 hours of purchase.
The writer is a regular contributor to the Sidney Daily News.